Age diversity is an important factor in building an inclusive workforce and while it may not always be the highest topic on the agenda for business targets – it needs to be.
The average workplace now includes employees across at least 4 generations, and as explored across all strands of D&I, companies that embrace all are much more likely to succeed.
Removing all forms of discrimination is the ultimate goal, but first understanding why they exist is key. Ageism and prejudice based on someone’s age, can exist in the workplace in many different forms, from hiring right through to promotions or opportunities at work. People of all ages can be affected, including younger and older workers, and the growing number of older people in employment makes this group a key focus.
According to research from The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) older workers represent a rising proportion of the UK workforce, with over-50s now making up 31% of the total, up from 21% in the early 1990s.
The CIPD have raised concerns that if more employers don’t improve how they recruit, train and retain older workers, they are likely to face skill and labour shortages, particularly after the UK leaves the EU where it may be harder to recruit EU nationals. Biases may exist that an older candidate or employee may not be as efficient at work, may lack innovation, technical skills or be averse to change, but all these perceived weaknesses can be present regardless of age and simply lead to stereotyping.
It is important to weed out any discrimination that exists based on assumptions and stereotypes by focussing on continuous training and harnessing the wealth of benefits employees of all ages can bring to a team.
Creating mixed-age work teams within an organisation brings many strengths in the same way a family does, with each member contributing different experience and perspective. Complex decision-making tasks are unpicked quicker, creativity is enhanced, and the combination of different viewpoints will drive innovation, rather than hinder. Combining talents in an age diverse workplace also creates opportunity for more experienced employees by way of mentorship schemes.
An employee who has been with the company for several years may be concerned about their credibility within their role or notice a decline in new projects and opportunities being offered to them. A mentorship programme not only boosts employee confidence and their value to an employer but encourages teams of all ages to collaborate.
From coaching in traditional business skills, sharing industry-related knowledge or technology training sessions, when a company values continued learning and development, employees of all ages can have the opportunity to teach and grow.
For businesses unsure on how to move forward with their wider Diversity & Inclusion strategy, RTM’s white paper is now available with practical, tangible steps towards creating meaningful change in the workplace.
Take the step today towards creating an inclusive and culturally diverse workforce – for all.
Download our white paper here